Herbs & Plants

Canella alba

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Botanical Name : Canella alba
Family Canellaceae Canellaceae
KingdomPlantae Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta Tracheobionta
Division : Magnoliophyta Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae Magnoliidae
Order Canellales Canellales
Gender :  Canella Canella
:Species : C. C. alba dawn
Synonyms:Canella. White Wood. Wild Cinnamon. Canellae Cortex, Canella winteriana

Common Names :Kilyuram patai, Castilian: Mullein, white Canella, Palo malambo.

It is native to the West Indies Caribbean common areas  and Florida.


A straight tree, from 10 to 50 feet in height with numerous branches with leaves. The bark is whitish and the leaves alternate, oblong, thick, and of a dark, shining, laurel green.The whole plant is aromatic and evokes the smell of black currant , but not to be confused with cinnamon true (Cinnamomum). The leaves are alternate, obovate or oblanceolate, coriaceous, dark green dotted with translucent glands. The upper surface is dark and the lower surface bright green, lighter and mate. The inflorescences are usually terminal, sometimes axillary.

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The flowers are small, and seldom open. They have 3 sepals 2-3 mm thick and 5 petals obovate, 5-6 mm, bright red color with a yellowish base, 10 stamens with filaments united into a staminal tube 3-4 mm and anthers yellow to orange, and a short style but bigger.
They are of a violet colour, and grow in clusters at the tops of the branches.  They last from June to September.


The fruit is a berry globose green and vermilion, and finally almost black7-10 mm in diameter. Contains up to 5 seeds black, shiny, oblong, 5-6 mm.Although the flowers are hermaphrodites , they behave as unisexual flowers.

The fruit is an oblong berry containing four kidney-shaped seeds, and turns from green to blue and then to a glossy black. The wild pigeons of Jamaica eat the fruit, and their flesh is flavoured by them. The whole tree is aromatic, and if the flowers are dried, then softened again in warm water, they have a fragrance resembling musk. Canella was first introduced into Britain in 1600. The Spaniards, on seeing it in America, thought it was a species of cinnamon, and brought it to Europe as ‘white cinnamon.’
The corky layer of the bark can be gently beaten off, and the inner bark is dried, and exported chiefly from the Bahamas.


In commerce the bark is found in quills or twisted pieces, of a pale orange-brown, with characteristic markings scars, or spots. The fracture is short, granular, and whitish. The odour is agreeable, resembling cloves and cinnamon, and the taste is pungent, bitter, and acrid.

The negroes and Caribs use it as a condiment or spice, and it is sometimes added by smokers to their tobacco to remove the unpleasant odour and make their rooms fragrant.

Constituents: A volatile oil, gum, starch, canellin, bitter extractive, resin, albumen, mannite, etc. The oil has a pungent, aromatic taste, and contains eugenol, cineol, and terpenes. There is no tannin.

Contains pentosan (16.7%). manito(8.71%), nitrogenous (8.5%), reducing substance(16%),ash (7.4%), and small amounts of plowing, Glaktos and xylan.

Medicinal Action and Uses:

Part Used: The bark, deprived of its corky layer and dried.

It is aromatic , stimulant , digestive , stomach , tonic, antiscorbutic .  Macerated bark is used in rubbing alcohol against rheumatism , the cooking for the stomach , is given as a febrifuge , is included among the stimulants general and aphrodisiacs . It is part of Rhubarb wine of the British Pharmacopoeia.  The bark is used.

An aromatic bitter, useful in enfeebled conditions of the stomach, and often given with other medicines. It was formerly given in scurvy. The powder is used with aloes as a stimulating purgative. (This is a descendant of the Hiera Piera of Galen. – EDITOR.) It is often sold as a substitute for winter’s bark, but it contains no tannic acid, or oxide of iron, both of which are present in the other.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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